Rob Abercrombie of our ACK Customer Relationship Team had a busy December helping customers find the perfect outdoor holiday gift. By the end of the month, he managed to find his own: a hiking trip through the South Loop of Big Bend National Park. Here is his report.
I camped out in Big Bend for a week, 12/16-12/21, something I had been wanting to do since moving here and driving through West Texas. I took 385S and drove through the small town of Marathon, and stayed the first night at the Chisos Basin camp ground. I probably saw the most wildlife camping in this populated area than I did in the backcountry. There was a gray fox that visited my site and grey tailed deer were scattered about early in the morning.
I hiked the South Rim trail and obtained a backcountry permit for a solo campsite on top of the Tule Mountains. The South Rim is about a 12 mile loop, with stunning views that go 200 miles into Mexico with out seeing any signs of pavement. Staying that night on the Tule Mountain ridge was windy, but also great for access to wake up before 5am and hike the mile and half trail to the top Emory Peak (7,800′), the highest point in the Chisos Mountains and the park. I got up and watched the sunrise over Mexico and there are not enough adjectives to describe the color change. The sunrise and sunset are the main attraction to why anyone would ever visit a desert.
Afterwards I stayed at the Rio Grande Village in a primitive site called the Gravel Pitt. The site was off-road and secluded and I could tell that it would be better to sleep in the car rather than the ground… scorpion country. The site offered more stunning views over the Sierra Del Carmen mountains. I also visited the nearby hot springs, because what could be better than walking around in 90 degree weather and hoping in a natural pool of 108 degree water? You can rinse/cool off in the Rio Grande, but if you venture past the deepest part of the river, then technically you have crossed the boarder and can be fined up to 5,000 dollars and thrown in jail. To my surprise parts of the Rio Grande are barely deep enough to cover the top of your boot.
The last couple days I bumped around the Santa Clara Canyon and walked around in Terlingua, a town full of river guides and transient hippies, and I can’t wait to do another visit. I highly recommend going at least once in your life, the stars are outstanding, the chance of running into a mountain lion are good, and if you enjoy trails that cover all types of terrain- then Big Bend is the place to be. Remember to stock up on plenty of water and bring a good camera. I took all photos using an iPhone with an HDR-pro app and instagram.
Viva La Big Bend.